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The SMC Expertise Hub

SMC Expertise in: Understanding your daily needs

Inspiration, industry challenges, views, automation trends, support, answers, some questions, interpretations, advice, guidance. Our Experts speak up……

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Go ahead, click on the icon and choose the topic or industry you are interested in: Energy efficiency, Packaging, Food industry, Life Science industry or Robotics

                                                      

SMC can help OEMs develop energy-efficient machines

 By Roy Schep, Manager Energy Efficiency, SMC Netherlands

JANUARY 2022
OEMs traditionally design their pneumatic machinery and equipment for an operating pressure of 7 bar. However, by reducing this to 4 bar, I know from experience that end users can cut their energy costs by up to 29% in some instances, creating a powerful USP for the OEM. To help achieve such a desirable outcome, increasing numbers of OEMs are engaging with our team of experts here at SMC, who can offer both the know-how and products to turn this concept into reality.

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Energy efficiency: amplifying the benefits of working at 4 bar

 By Marek Strojil, Customised services, SMC Czech Republic

JANUARY 2022
Although most pneumatic machinery and equipment operates at 7 bar, I know from experience that taking steps to reduce the system’s operating pressure to 4 bar can enhance energy efficiency, cost savings and environmental credentials. After all, every company is usually looking to save something, be it money, air, CO2, or even the planet. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, big savings do not happen overnight. Only by implementing small improvements step-by-step is it possible to bring about the overall gains desired. Here at SMC we have a simple yet highly effective product that can be one of those steps.

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Pneumatic cylinders: drive energy efficiency by switching to 4 bar operating pressure

 By Séamus Dunne, Actuator Section Technical Manager, SMC European Technical Centre

JANUARY 2022
Climate change, sustainability and energy efficiency have never been so high on the political agenda. The UN’s recent Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK brought the world’s political leaders, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), businesses and scientists together with the aim of accelerating action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The question for those of us at the industrial machinery level, is how can we contribute? Today, I see a new generation of engineers keen on influencing the industrial world in a positive way, creating machines that attain new levels of energy efficiency to help protect the Earth for future generations.

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Release the pressure  

 By Andy Still, Industry Projects Manager, Energy, Europe

APRIL 2021
The subject is more than serious. Pneumatic equipment accounts for about 20% of all factory power consumption and there is a proven way to improve energy efficiency: reduce the operating pressure. SMC explains how companies can achieve this objective and thus fall in line with manufacturing’s most important current trend.

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Thermal management: a hot topic for life-science OEMs

 By Max Lemacon, Team Manager Life Science, SMC France

MARCH 2022
Design engineers at OEMs serving the life-science sector are starting to acknowledge the significance of thermal management in the drive to create quicker and more precise laboratory equipment. After all, let’s not forget that chemical reaction rates are generally proportional to temperature, while lab technicians can also increase the working time or shelf life of samples and reagents by maintaining the substance within its optimal temperature range. Of course, delivering this capability in a reliable and cost-effective way is the real challenge, which is why companies are increasingly calling upon our expert team of engineers here at SMC.

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Keep a cool head when selecting temperature control technology for life-science applications

 By Kim Holy, Product Management & Industrial Application Center (IAC), SMC Germany

MARCH 2022
There are certain characteristics you should seek out when selecting temperature control technology for use in the life-science sector. Arguably one of the most prevalent is a system that leverages the benefits of the Peltier effect, which introduces advantages important to those conducting laboratory work, such as high temperature stability, low noise, low vibration and compact physical dimensions.

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SMC thermo-chillers: low TCO, high peace of mind

 By Kees van Kampen, Product Manager Thermo Control Equipment, SMC Netherlands

MARCH 2022
Thermo-chillers serve a key function in sectors such as life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotech, where correct product temperature is vital to process precision and reliability. Such is the criticality of temperature control that preventative maintenance becomes a crucial element of owning and running a thermo-chiller. With this thought in mind, our team of experts here at SMC has devised a separate preventative maintenance standard for each chiller series in our portfolio, bringing complete peace of mind to your temperature-critical processes.

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Optimised fluid handling for life sciences analysers

 By Philippe Pinto – Industry Manager Life Science, Europe

MAY 2021
Who has not heard about the PCR test? In vitro diagnostics (IVD) in general and analyser in a more specific sense, have always played a key role in society as they are non-invasive tests performed on biological samples (for example blood, urine or tissues) to diagnose or exclude diseases. Covid-19 has put IVD in the spotlight and diagnostic tests are, unfortunately a normal part of our daily conversations. The professionals in IVD already knew that an early diagnosis can make the difference; that the right diagnosis can make the difference. Now we all know. In this context it is no wonder that a key target for IVD in general, and analysers in particular is for them to provide fast results as well as accurate ones. Appropriate fluid handling of these techniques plays a fundamental part in achieving the desired speed and accuracy. As fluid handling involves many critical components interrelating together, it is vital to involve a skilled partner able to supply proven solutions for the entire system, at early stages of development. And that´s SMC.

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Use robotics to take a firm grip on production flexibility

 By Marcus Mazetti, Global Account Manager, SMC Sweden

MARCH 2022
Once the preserve of high-volume operations at automotive plants, we’re today finding that robots are infiltrating all sectors of the commercial world. Even beyond traditional manufacturing, inspection and packaging operations, we see robots fulfilling tasks that extend from mining and space exploration, through to surgery and laboratory research, and even fruit picking. With such a vast repertoire of applications, the robots of today need one principal attribute: flexibility. Much of this flexibility comes courtesy of the end-of-arm tooling (gripper), which means there are many factors to bear in mind when selecting a gripper technology supplier, not least breadth of portfolio, proven customisation capabilities and high levels of customer support.

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Modular media control saves time and cost in robotic welding

  By Zdenek Velfl, Business Consultant, SMC Czech Republic

MARCH 2022
We all know that high-volume automotive applications such as welding have numerous demands, not least high productivity and reliability. Any failures or inconsistencies with the robotic solutions deployed in these processes can lead to costly production stoppages and expensive maintenance or repairs. For this reason, a growing number of robot OEMs are choosing to work with our team of expert engineers here at SMC, which can offer a highly effective and convenient modular solution for handing welding-specific media such as air, gases and water.

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Wireless robotics: where less is definitely more

 By Juanjo Jubete, Wireless Unit Product Specialist, SMC Spain

MARCH 2022
Ever yearned for a wireless communication system for your robotics? Fed up with cables and their associated breakages and disconnections? Want lower installation and maintenance costs? Well, wireless robotics is now a reality. In fact, it’s been here for some time, providing totally reliable, noise-resistant communication at a growing number of manufacturers that have adopted the completely unique Wireless Unit from SMC. To help anyone who is still hesitant about wireless communication technology, Juanjo Jubete, Wireless Unit Product Specialist, at SMC Spain, addresses a number of common concerns in this short Q&A.

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Cobots and end effectors team up for affordable flexible solutions

 By Andrea Trifone, Cobot project leader, SMC Italy

JANUARY 2021
While robotics led the way for the rapid growth of automation, we see cobots as the democratisation of robotics technology. They eliminate the cost and complex programming that robots usually require while providing much greater flexibility.

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Maintenance: SMC sets out why the ‘P’ in predictive maintenance should represent progress, not pain

 By Oliver Prang, Expert Digital Business Development, SMC Germany

DECEMBER 2021
Predictive maintenance has very much become an industry buzzword in recent decades as factories try to drive down their capital equipment TCO (total cost of ownership) by preventing failures and downtime in a ‘just-in-time’ way. Many wrongly assume that implementing a predictive maintenance strategy entails a complete overhaul of operations, but in reality, taking a few small steps can make a big difference to machine uptime and OEE (overall equipment effectiveness). To ensure success, it is advisable to engage with a trusted technology partner. For SMC, a global leader in pneumatic control solutions, the ‘P’ in predictive maintenance should stand for ‘progress’ not ‘pain’.

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Making sense of sensors

  By Danilo Giordana, Energy Efficiency Project Manager, SMC Italy

DECEMBER 2021
Such is the evolutionary rate of change in modern manufacturing that failing to keep pace with the industry’s shift to digitalisation – and its associated efficiency and productivity benefits – can prove extremely costly. But where to begin? Most professionals in this space point to data collection as the first step, because subsequent data analysis can support the adoption of predictive maintenance strategies, better decision-making and continuous process improvements. However, it is only possible to fulfil this ambition by adopting the optimal sensor for the application.

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IO-Link to move easily to smart sensors

 By Mile Milovanovic, Senior Engineer, SMC German Technical Centre

DECEMBER 2021
As industry turns to digital, IO-Link stands out as an easy to implement and cost-effective solution.

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What you should know about air preparation

 By Mark Brinsley, Sales Engineering Group; Air and Fluid Equipment, SMC UK

OCTOBER 2021
Even though almost all factories have air preparation systems to protect their pneumatic equipment, the subject is still not so well known, and it hides some interesting aspects and optimization. One of the key questions is how prepared should my compressed air be? There is not one simple answer to this question, because compressed air quality depends on a myriad of variables, such as the air quality coming in (from the compressor), the air quality requirements in the end-of-line applications, the process or industry requirements or even the position of the filtration units. With all these uncertainties, SMC, an Expert in air treatment, will be able to support you.

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SMC´s FRL Unit: with you since 1961

 By Sean Mackenzie, Engineer, Air Equipment, SMC European Technical Centre

OCTOBER 2021
SMC was established in 1959 to manufacture and sell Sintered Metal Filter Elements. The FRL unit was first launched by SMC in 1961. 60 years of design evolution based on our customers’ requirements.

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Shedding light on the dew point

 By Axel Delsaux, Product Marketing, SMC France

OCTOBER 2021
Dew point can be an overwhelming term, but put simply, it is the temperature at which water becomes visible. The water droplets that you can see in your cold drink derive from the dew point.

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The technical challenge of sustainable packaging  

 By Jorge Salgado, Food & Packaging Industry Manager, SMC Spain

AUGUST 2021
The trend is clear, and there is no going back. Consumer environmental and sustainability concerns, in terms of plastic pollution and the rise of Circular Economy principles consciousness compel the packaging industry towards a more ethical packaging. This means using material easier to recycle like monolayer plastic or paper and reducing the quantity of material used. Moving towards sustainable packaging brings technical challenges to packaging machines. Furthermore, ensuring higher sustainability goes through higher efficiency. How? Keep on reading.

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The fine art of chocolate manufacturing using SMC solutions

 By Paolo Tornavacca, Client Group Manager, SMC Italia

MARCH 2022
Refining is arguably the most important process in chocolate production as it determines the consistency and texture of the final product. We know from experience that only by using high-quality, high-performance industrial control and automation solutions, backed up with global support on a local level, will builders of chocolate refining machinery succeed in gaining market share.

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SMC hits the sweet spot at chocolate machinery manufacturer

 By Wim de Vos, Sales Engineer, SMC Belgium

MARCH 2022
The class-leading service and breadth of products available from SMC is helping a leading machine builder to maintain and extend its prominent position in a highly competitive global market. HACOS designs, produces and installs high-quality chocolate manufacturing machines that spur the development and growth of every size of chocolatier, from artisans to large industrial producers. The company builds from small to very large machines that cover all chocolate manufacturing processes, necessitating the use of a high-calibre technology partner with a proven track record in industrial control and automation.

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Meeting food industry challenges means having automation specialists directly on the factory floor

 By Diego Mirabelli – Industry Manager Food, Europe 

JUNE 2021
Between 2020 and 2027, the food processing market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.04% according to Verified Market Search. The industry will have to increase its productivity while simultaneously dealing with a lack of workers and cost pressure. 
As most automation companies are focused on machine builders, SMC is differentiating itself by being present with the food manufacturers on their factory floor in order to identify the food industry’s most pressing challenges and help to overcome them.  In order to improve their productivity, factories must reduce downtime, implement more automation and improve energy efficiency, machine safety and hygiene. 

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Wafer oven OEM tastes success with SMC solutions

 By Karl-Heinz Ursch, Senior Sales Expert, SMC Austria

MARCH 2022
One of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium baking ovens for the large-scale industrial production of wafers is using SMC air-blow technology to reduce the energy required for a key cleaning process. In this article we set out the solutions and products that turned this ambition into a reality.

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A more in-depth view on the following topics:
Energy efficiency 

Air treatment 

Industry 4.0 

Robotics 

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